I recently finished the book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. The book as a whole is a must read for anyone considering pregnancy or already pregnant. It is filled with countless positive birth stories and great information regarding birth in general. However the part that I just can’t get out of my head is the last two sentences of the book.
“If I have persuaded you of nothing else in this book, I hope that one message will stay with you.Your body is not a lemon.”
This is such a powerful statement to women in all aspects of life. How often do we decide that our body is just not enough? We are constantly being sold and buying into products to “fix” our lemon bodies. The makeup to cover our imperfections, the lotion to reduce the wrinkles and “unsightly” stretch marks, medication to get rid of those pesky periods, hair products to fix our frizzy, dry, over-processed hair, clothes to properly accentuate our good features and hide our bad, a new diet fad to help attain the perfect body size. The list is never-ending! At what point do we realize just how amazing our bodies really are!?
As women we can grow life inside of us, push that life out, nourish that life, and then our bodies go back to functioning with that life no longer inside. We can hope for our pre baby body back or we can embrace our post baby body and respect it for its awesomeness.
We expect so damn much from our bodies every single day. Most women live life constantly on full throttle; fueled by caffeine, on very little sleep, with an endless to-do list, on as few calories as their calculations say they can (while occasionally binging on foods that do not serve their body), and squeezing in extreme workouts while undernourished, dehydrated and unrested. In return, their bodies communicate discomfort and rather than slowing down, women medicate every ache and pain.
Does that sound familiar? When was the last time you sat and really listened to what your body was trying to tell you? Take time to really listen because it is speaking. Its voice may not seem very strong at first because you have gotten really good at shutting it out and pressing on.
Try giving yourself a solid 8 hours of sleep at night and notice how you feel in the mornings. Maybe all that caffeine isn’t really needed! Slow your life down a notch so that you are able to decrease your stress load. Stress can take a toll on us mentally and physically. Take time to breathe and be still for just a few minutes a day.
Listen to your stomach. What foods don’t sit well, cause bloating, irregular bowel issues or reflux? Keep a journal and start avoiding some of those foods and see how you begin to feel differently both physically and emotionally. Make sure you are eating enough calories, especially if you are active. If your body is starved you will not be functioning well.
Are your muscles sore or your body aching? Take time to rest and allow your body to recover! Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Get adjusted regularly so that you can recover better and learn to move with better mechanics.
Give yourself time to take care of you! Self care is becoming a lost art. Find time in each day to take self inventory of how YOU are doing. The Motherhood Transition is not a time to tear yourself apart but rather to check in with yourself. Stop telling yourself that you are a lemon and start believing that you have an amazing body capable of crazy amazing things. Maybe take a moment to tell that body thank you!